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Navy S Marine Corps Medical News
August 25, 2000
1. This message has been coordinated with the Commandant of the
Marine Corps (CMC) . The Commandant has authorized transmission
to Marine Corps activities.
2. Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is a weekly
compendium of news and information contributed by commands
throughout the Navy medical department . Information contained
in MEDNEWS stories is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be considered
official Navy policy.
3. BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and Marines, their
families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine Corps
families. Further distribution is highly encouraged.
4. Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy
medical professional ' s name to show affiliation: MC - Medical
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC -
Medical Service Corps (clinicians, researchers and
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their names.
5. Contents for this week's MEDNEWS:
- Services will collect baseline medical info on recruits
- Educators, health care professionals meet in Tokyo
- Hospital corpsmen support joint mission in Southeast Asia
- Joint exercise sees eye care mission in Indonesia
- Medical center captures Navy award
- Anthrax question and answer
- TRICARE question and answer
- Healthwatch: Keep those diseases at bay with immunizations
Headline: Services will collect baseline medical info on
By Army Staff Sgt . Kathleen T. Rhem, American Forces Press
WASHINGTON - Defense medical officials are working on a
plan to collect baseline health data from all recruits during
their basic training .
The Recruit Assessment Program would collect comprehensive,
extensive medical history and health data and will compile the
information into a computer database, said Capt. Kenneth C.
Hyams, director of epidemiology at the Naval Medical Research
Center in Silver Spring, Md.
"The data will be accessible through a computer network and
available to doctors when they are caring for their patients
throughout the patients ' military career, " Hyams said. "It will
also be available to Department of Veterans Affairs doctors when
individuals leave military service and enter the VA system. "
He said the services currently collect medical information
from recruits, but the RAP questionnaire is more extensive and
computerized . There are no current plans to pose the same
questions to those already serving, he noted.
"In the past, most of the information collected has been on
paper copies. Often times those paper questionnaires get lost
and aren't available to physicians when they are caring for
patients later in their military career, " Hyams said. "It ' s very
important that we have a life-long medical record that doctors
can use to help in the care of patients, both while they're in
the military and after they enter the VA system. "
All the information wouldn't be important during a
recruit ' s early years in service, but most certainly would be
critical as individuals age. For instance, women with a family
history of breast cancer could be targeted for earlier
preventive screenings, he said.
The initiative came in part from lessons learned after the
Gulf War. It was nearly impossible to determine what ailments
were service-related because no available database provide a
clear picture of veterans ' health before their service in the
Once individuals are sent off to war or to a dangerous
deployment such as Bosnia, it 's too late to collect the baseline
data needed to really understand later health problems they may
have after they return, Hyams explained.
"One of the major problems in understanding the Gulf War
Syndrome controversy has been the fact that we have not been
able to evaluate the changes in military members ' health over
time, " he said.
Currently, a pilot Recruit Assessment Program is being
tested at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, 111 . ; Lackland Air
Force Base, Texas; and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Officials are working out some issues regarding questionnaire
design and automation and aren't sure when the program would be
Headline: Educators, health care professionals meet in Tokyo
From U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Public Affairs Office
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Health care professionals and educators in
mainland Japan have come together as a team to help children with
special developmental needs.
Families with children who have special needs can now find
comprehensive services at their hospital, clinics, and schools as
part of an effort to help the Navy meet its mission.
Recently, health care professionals and educators met for a
Collaborative Conference, just weeks before the start of the 2000
school season .
Capt . Jack Smith, MC, commanding officer of U. S. Naval
Hospital, Yokosuka, spoke to the group about their role in
supporting the Navy's readiness mission and how caring for family
members brings peace of mind to military service members.
Cmdr. Robert Buckley, MC, developmental pediatrician and
department head of EDIS Japan agreed. "Concern for families is
important to the Fleet, " he said.
"It's hard for them to be ready if they're out on a ship
and worrying about their loved ones back home — what kind of
hassles is the spouse going through trying to get the needs of
their children met. Having these services here is great, " said
According to Lt . Eric Acoba, MC, Iwakuni's Physical
Therapist and EDIS Specialty Coordinator, "Part of my job is not
only dealing with the beneficiaries in terms of children, but I
also work with the active duty Marines, as well. So I see the
whole spectrum. "
Headline: Local hospital corpsmen support joint mission in
By Judith Robertson, Naval Hospital Bremerton
BREMERTON, Wa. - Digging dirt in 90 percent humidity for
seven weeks is not the job of a hospital corpsman. Yet,
independent duty corpsmen from Naval Hospital Bremerton have
been lining up to volunteer for the job.
"My mission was to provide primary and emergency medical
care primarily to the team, then for Vietnamese workers, then to
local villagers, " said HMCM Karl Matous, the most recent
volunteer to tour with the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting Team
and Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) , Hawaii. "But if you
aren 't involved in your primary job, and I was fortunate there
weren't a lot of medical problems, then you dig dirt, " Matous
By volunteering as the medic, Matous spent seven weeks in a
triple canopy jungle in Vietnam as part of a 12-member team
designed to search, recover and identify remains of American
personnel, unaccounted for from World War II, Korean War,
Vietnam War and other conflicts and contingencies.
"We were digging up and sifting through an area that had
the potential to contain aircraft debris and possible human
remains, " said Matous. "Anything we found was transported back
to Hawaii where they have DNA capability and dental and medical
It could take as long as six to ten months before any type
of identification is made, but according to statistics by the
CIL there have been 12 WWII, 38 Vietnam War, four Korean War and
two Cold War remains identified since January 2000.
The field activities to Vietnam, Laos and other
historically war-torn areas take place nearly six times a year
with multiple teams being dispersed to different locations for
30-days at a time.
If there was any question in Matous ' mind about why he was
spending a month of his life digging dirt in Vietnam, it all
became perfectly clear. It was to give closure to families and
friends of those who sacrificed their lives. This is the message
that Matous gave to HMCS Malcolm Jacobs, the next in a long line
of volunteers who will support the mission.
"Not too many people in my generation have had the
opportunity to go to Vietnam. We grew up seeing it on TV. This
mission gives me the opportunity to do what I joined the Navy to
do - go to another country, meet other people, and do a good
deed, " said Jacobs.
Headline: Joint exercise sees eye care mission in Indonesia
By Bill Doughty, U. S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Optometrist Lt . Andrew Kim, MSC, traveled
to Indonesia this summer as part of a medical team mission in
support of "CARAT 2000. "
He and a small team conducted eye evaluations and provided
spectacle lenses to needy Indonesians in rural Asembagus, East
Java. According to Kim, they provided 1,514 eye evaluations and
made 1,293 eyeglasses on site.
"By providing optical and surgical treatment to patients
with reduced vision, the team had an exceptional improvement on
quality of life for hundreds of people who would otherwise have
had no treatment options, " said Kim.
Glasses were made and distributed within 30 minutes of the
patient ' s exam.
Two corpsman worked solely in the lab to scope, block, cut,
and assimilation the glasses.
"Personally, this was an extraordinary experience for me.
Although we might take reading glasses for granted, I saw tears
coming down from the eyes of an elderly woman who, for the first
time, had an experience of seeing clearly, " said Kim. "It was an
amazing experience. It is truly about helping less fortunate
people in the world. "
Headline: Medical center captures Navy award
From Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs Office
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, was
selected for the Navy-wide Rear Admiral William Thompson Award
for public affairs excellence in the Special Events, Observances
and Special Publics category.
The selection was based on media and internal and external
public relations in promoting the opening of the Charette Health
Care Center in April 1999. "The opening of the new Charette
Health Care Center represents a superb quality of life
enhancement for the military community of Hampton Roads, " said
Rear Adm. Marion J. Balsam, Commander, NMC Portsmouth.
"Promoting the hospital 's technological sophistication and
patient amenities which are second to none was a high priority
in prededication activities . "
The award was given for unique activities aimed at
directing the public's attention to the dedication of the $330
million state-of-the-art facility and the impact it would have
for the over 420, 000 Tidewater military beneficiary population
including active duty, dependents and retired personnel.
Headline: Anthrax question and answer
Question: If you receive all the shots, are you 100
Answer: The antibodies that result from any vaccine can be
overwhelmed if one is exposed to extremely large doses of any
pathogen. Even if vaccinated, one may not be completely safe if
one is close to the biological agent release point. Antibiotics
for such people will offer additional protection . That ' s why
vaccination is only one part of the force health protection
efforts, which also includes protective gear and detection
equipment. For continued protection, annual booster doses are
Headline: TRICARE question and answer
Question: Does the enrollment fee for TRICARE Prime have
to be paid all at once, or can it be paid in installments?
Answer: It is permissible to pay the Prime enrollment fee
in quarterly installments . There is no additional administrative
fee for quarterly payments .
Headline: Healthwatch: Keep those diseases at bay with
By It. Cmdr. Scott Clements, Naval Hospital Pensacola
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Increasing concerns have been raised
about the safety and need for vaccinations to control infectious
Primarily, modern medicine relies on antibiotics and
vaccines to combat infections from bacteria and viruses.
Vaccines prime the immune system to respond quickly to invading
bacteria or viruses. It ' s used to halt infection before symptoms
Antibiotics work by killing bacteria already infecting the
body and causing symptoms.
Antibiotics are not effective against viral diseases . A
single antibiotic may work against many kinds of bacteria, while
vaccines are designed against a specific disease.
In America, many once- feared childhood diseases are
becoming rare. Some have suggested that vaccination is no longer
Despite the decrease in North America, vaccine preventable
diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough continue to
infect and kill children throughout the world.
Only by continuing to actively immunize children will these
scourges be kept at bay. Other parents worry when multiple
vaccinations are given at one time, fearing an increased risk of
severe reactions to the vaccines or that they may not be as
effective when combined.
Routine childhood vaccines are given according to a
schedule. Sometimes the question arises about whether to given
an immunization when the child is ill . The experts do not
recommend delaying vaccinations due to mild illnesses such as
colds, ear infections or mild diarrheal disease.
Vaccinations should also proceed if the child has been
exposed to an infection or is taking antibiotics for an illness.
The American Academy of Pediatrics considers immunizations
a priority in children's health and more information about
specific vaccines is available at the web site (www.aap.org).
For more information on pediatrics and immunizations go to the
Naval Hospital website
(psaweb . med . navy . mil/pted/pediatrics . htm) .
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